I have a major dilemma that I need some advice on. I have to make a major live changing decision in the next two weeks about my life/career/happiness. I presently live in Chicago, IL and I am graduating at the end of May. I have an internship at a firm that I will definitely have a job at once I graduate. Sounds good, right? What does she have to complain about? Well, my family recently moved to Arizona to retire and I have been there many times before. I love Arizona and I recently started to contemplate if I would like to move there. There is no immediate job I have lined up there, but there are openings and I know I would be able to find something. Besides, I intended on living with my parents at first to save up. So there is no immediate rush for me to get a job, although I am not the type to wait around. I just can’t decide whether I want to stay here, where I have a job that I like, but don’t LOVE. My are also here and I would definitely miss them, but I can always make more in Arizona. I do actually know two people there. I’m just not all that happy right now, and I’m not sure if it has to be with me living here (I live in a small studio by myself) or it’s just because I’m stressed out with school and work and it will go away when I graduate. Help me! I need some good nonpartisan advice! Thank you.

-Where should I live?

2004_05_askboxes.gifWe can't really tell you what to do, but we can help you make a decision (or we will try, anyway).

You can start by making some pro and con lists. These lists wouldn't be limited to just the things you listed above, but also to the merits of living in a city (more resources, more things to do, easier transportation, etc.) vs. living somewhere less urban (less noise, less cost, prettier landscape, etc.). Also think about living arrangements - some people have trouble moving back in with their families after college, and doing so can stifle you. You may fall back into old habits you exhibited with your family as a child (we get a little lazy when we go back home) or your family may inhibit your independence -- anything could happen; you don't give much information about your family, so we're just guessing. On the other hand, living at home after college can be an excellent way to save some extra cash for your first apartment, too, and moving somewhere where the rents are a little more managable can save you from eating Ramen every night for the first year.

You say you don't love your new job, but is there something you would love available in Arizona? It seems likely that job prospects in a city like Chicago might be greater. And you may very easily make new in Arizona, but what about the old ones? These are all things you should consider when deciding about a move on this scale.

Your unhappiness may be caused by end-of-school stress. Everyone gets a little restless when graduation looms around the corner. But if you truly are unhappy in the little studio apartment, a change of scenery might do you some good.

You could also stick with the job you've got and see how it goes. Maybe it will be different when you graduate from being an intern, and you'll like the job more. Give it six months or a year and see where you are: if it still isn't quite what you want, then you could consider the move. Arizona will still be there.

It's a tough decision to make, but if you weigh all the options, one or the other will become more clear as the obvious choice. Good luck!